The BBC is reporting that the US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm PDVSA in a bid to pressure the country’s military into accepting a peaceful transfer of power.
The article quotes National Security Adviser John Bolton as saying that President Nicolás Maduro and his allies could “no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people”. Venezuela is said to be among the top four exporters of oil to the United States, sending as much as 41 percent of its oil exports there.
According to the article, the US and more than 20 countries have recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president. However, Maduro still has the support of Cuba, Russia, China and Trinidad and Tobago.
The article said too that the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the proceeds of the purchase of Venezuelan oil would now be withheld from Mr Maduro’s government, “but the company could avoid sanctions by recognising Mr Guaidó.”
According to Mr Bolton and Mr Mnuchin, the sanctions were intended to prevent Mr Maduro’s government from taking funds from PDVSA. “We have continued to expose the corruption of Maduro and his cronies and today’s action ensures they can no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people,” Mr Bolton is quoted as saying.